By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday lamented the current state of disunity in Nigeria, stressing that Nigeria was not as divided as it is today, during the civil war.
Obasanjo spoke at a one-day “2019 annual retreat/conference and general meeting of members” of Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria, ACAEBIN, in Abeokuta.
The former President said: “When we look at this country today, even during the civil war, we were not as divided as we are today. Today, we are in danger if we don’t take partnership serious. Partnership within our people, within Africa and the rest of the world.”
According to the former President, the private sector is the engine room of development in any country.
“As Chief audit, it is defined by virtue of what you are doing as a profession. If the audit is awry, banking business will not be right. What I want to emphasise is that, it is a must as Nigerians and as Africans, that we have certain elements that we have to take very serious which I put as five Ps.
“The first is politics which is governance. Unless we get governance right, any other thing we are trying to do will not be right. The second is population. Our population at independence, we were estimated to be 45 million, but today we are 200 million. By the year 2050, we will be over 400 million. Normally, population should be an asset but looking at the condition we are in now, when in the North-East of Nigeria, the percentage of adult literacy is about 53 percent, you can see that, we have a problem and education is basic in all human development.
“How do we think of setting education to be useful? Those people who will make our education over 400 million in some years time are already born, and you cannot unborn them, so the problem is here, what do we do?
“We must provide education for them, housing, healthcare, education for them, and more importantly, employment for them.
“One thing that I believe will help us is to provide employment, and probably part of what will help us is agric business. And you in the baking business must pay attention to how we build the agric sector.
“I am not talking of horti-culture, I am talking of the whole value chain, from land preparation. And if we are able to get that right, maybe we will be able to get the issue of employment for our teeming youths right, we will be able to get even the issue of rural development right, we will be able to get the issue if the gap between the have and have not right.
“The next one is prosperity, I am not being bothered about Nigeria’s poverty or Africa poverty. We have everything to generate wealth. We have God’s given resources under our soil. We also have human resources. If we bring these together, then, we will definitely get prosperity.
“Another one is protection, that is security. People must be protected in all aspect. Protection of lives, protection of property and the people can actually feel that they are protected,” stressed Obasanjo.
Also, in his welcome address, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said “Our motivation, as an administration, towards making lives abundant for our good people is to ensure optimal utilisation of the available resources and block all leakages and wastage of our resources.”
The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Adewale Oshinowo, spoke on “Banking in the digital age: challenges and opportunities.
He added that “As the operating environment changes, the knowledge and skill required to effectively perform audit assignments have become more sophisticated.”